When I was young, we went to a lake in northeast Oklahoma called Lake Tenkiller. As I got older and caught up in my addiction, I returned to the lake to “party.” There were some cliffs at Lake Tenkiller called “Big Daddy,” which rose high above the water. From below, they didn’t seem that daunting, but perched at the edge, about to jump, it looked like it was miles to the water.

Even emboldened by youth and alcohol, it was a crazy leap of faith. I remember climbing that cliff the first time, wearing shoes to protect my feet, and looking down at the water below. Surely it was deep enough. This was no blind assumption, since I had seen others jump before me, but I wondered if it would hurt. Would there be a sting or worse as my shoes slapped the water on impact, or would the water simply flow around me as I plunged below the surface?

Only one thing was certain. It would hurt more not to jump. So I stepped off the edge and hurtled toward the unknown.

Many More Cliffs to Come

Throughout my life, I have jumped off many more cliffs. The first was when I walked into the room to begin my recovery. Sure, it was simply passing through a door, as I had thousands of times before, but it was more terrifying than anything Big Daddy presented. It was a risk, but one I knew I had to take. I had seen others participate before, including my mother, and was optimistic that it would work for me. So, I stepped off the edge.

Another risk was asking someone to mentor or sponsor me. It was a risk to place my trust in another person, depending upon someone else to guide and direct me down this recovery path.

I took another plunge when I asked my lovely wife to marry me, which she did 34 years ago now. I had failed at marriage before, so I was afraid that I was unable to have a successful relationship. And in a literal leap of faith, I accepted Christ to be the Lord of my life. I walked back into the Episcopal Church of my childhood and began to engage in religious instruction while continuing to go to recovery meetings. The scripture says that we must have the faith of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20 ESV) and it also states that we need to trust our Lord with all that we are in all that we do (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

The Path to Freedom

A leap of faith is something that we must engage in in order to find freedom. What is your leap of faith? Is it in a relationship? Is it going to treatment? Is it attending your first meeting? Is it returning to church?  We all have opportunities to take a chance, not knowing what the outcome will be. The “trust factor” — faith — is the key.

I trust. I have faith that if I take the leap, the outcome will be a positive one. As we embark on a new year, take a leap of faith, take a chance, reach out and love somebody who is unlovable, engage with a family member from whom you have disengaged. Take that leap of faith!

The positive result will flow around you like the cool waters of Lake Tenkiller did me.


Choose a better life. Choose recovery.